It was a frustrating day in Indianapolis. Purdue could never get fully in sync in another rough and tumble Big Ten game, shooting under 30% from three and failing to connect from he free throw line. As a result, it dropped the Big Ten Tournament championship game to Iowa 75-66.
A lot of things lost this one. Four times Purdue missed the front end of a one-and-one situation. The floor caused Jaden Ivey to slip on a near certain dunk midway through the second half and he had to go to the bench with an injury for a moment. Sasha Stefanovic struggled mightily from the floor, hitting his first three, then missing his next five. A whopping 17 turnover also played a huge role, while Iowa had only six.
Once again, it was a frustrating defeat for Purdue where nothing seemed to work on a consistent basis, and if there was any consistency, Purdue likely wins comfortably.
This was a game that was there for the taking for Purdue, but it could not take advantage. Every time the Boilers had a chance at a run, Iowa answered. A three from Ethan Morton with 13:26 left gave Purdue a 47-46 lead, but it would last only 55 seconds before McCaffery scored five straight to put Iowa in front. Consecutive threes from Payton Sandfort at 8:56 and 8:25 gave the Hawkeyes a six point lead out of a 54-54 tie, and it was a lead they would not give up.
But it was McCaffery’s and-1 with 2:42 left that turned everything. Purdue had cut it to 63-62 with a 7-0 run over a 45 second span, but could not sustain the momentum. Iowa outscored Purdue 12-4 the rest of the way.
So a disappointing Big Ten season ends with no hardware and a 27-7 record. Purdue will now head to the NCAA Tournament as likely a 2 or 3 seed, but after two days where it looked like it was answering some long standing questions those questions have now returned.